Stress and emotion are incredible motivators. When things are stressful, we tend to act very quickly. The first step that people usually take is to physically separate. One person will move out just to remove themselves from a very emotional situation. In some case, after a separation, a divorce happens quickly. There are issues about spousal and child support, asset distribution, and so many other things that make the step after separation come right away.
Sometimes, the next step is not so dire. Once the separation occurs, the stress is instantly relieved. This happens often when there are no young children to worry about or there is a hope that the issues can be resolved over time. Another reason that people procrastinate may be health insurance. There are so many reasons that people give for not moving on to the next step. When it comes down to it, it is easier to procrastinate than it is to move forward.
The truth is that there are a lot of reasons why it is beneficial to move on sooner rather than later. Some reasons are emotional, some are financial and others are practical.
This sort of living situation becomes a stressor on its own, not only for the couple but for family and other loved ones around them. If there are children, even adult children, they may start to wonder if their parents are going to end up getting back together again. This sort of unknown can cause a high level of stress.
There is also the case of what happens if someone meets another person and starts a relationship. Whether it is a serious relationship or not, it could be extremely stressful on the new relationship with the new person knowing that the person they are getting involved with is still attached to another. If you hide the fact that you are still married, and the new relationship becomes serious, it becomes a much more difficult situation to deal with. It could very well be the deal breaker of a new relationship.
With the divorce proceeding itself, the length of time you spent separated may be considered if the court decides on the issues of spousal support. The years spent separated can be considered in the analysis of the support issue and may extend the length of time support must be paid.
Until you divorce, your lives are still intertwined. Property ownership may still be under both of your names. Your taxes are still tied together. You may even still have joint bank accounts that need to be managed. If one spouse runs up debt on a joint credit card, then the banks will come after both spouses for payment. You may be separated for years and think you are free and clear until the bank calls and your credit is ruined. To make matters even worse, if you have a credit card and your spouse is still an authorized user on the account, they can run up the bills and you will be totally responsible for them.
It is time to finish the process. Separation is only the first step. The stress and emotion of a bad marriage may be a thing of past, but it does not mean you should forget about the next steps. Get the divorce filed and finalized. The truth is if you have been living separated this long, you have most likely already worked out all the details of support and asset separation. The divorce can be completed without the emotion that tends to lead to ugly drawn out battles.